Tuesday 19th October 1943

In railway station area in Termoli

My Darling Olive,

Received your letter dated 6/10 yesterday so it came fairly quickly. The previous letter had been dated the 22/9, so I presume there are some in between as I hope you are managing to write every couple of days and airmails at that as letters here are water to a man dying of thirst. Even if there is little news, it is very nice to hear from you and read all about what Valerie is doing, although it gives me something of a heartache at times. She certainly seems to be making great strides. I am glad you are among pleasant people with the Benningtons but I hope you will get the house soon. I expect the dogs were very pleased to have you with them again.

The CO was talking to me about Omagh the other night and he asked what had happened to “that punch drunk fellow,….”.  Poor Geoffrey, I hear he may be coming out here shortly, but I am afraid he will get a poor welcome at this battalion, he is not the type to appeal to our CO, who is a positive devil for fighting and the coolest man I have ever met. Even the most critical situation leaves him completely unruffled and we have had a few of them in recent times.

John and I had dinner with an Italian family the other night. He was rather taken with the daughter, a dark attractive girl of about 21, who was a very intelligent school teacher, although she is not doing much teaching with everything completely disorganised. She spoke fluent French and he speaks quite good French so she translated for her family and he translated for me, so it worked quite well. They have very little knowledge of what is happening in the war. There are no newspapers and, as the town is deprived of electric light and batteries unobtainable, they get the vaguest news. They did not know that Naples had fallen. They expressed the utmost contempt for Mussolini – one wonders how he was ever in power, if one was to believe all the people who now run him down. They refused to comment on Badoglio but we got the impression that they did not think that much of him. Asked why they went to war with America, they shrugged their shoulders and blamed the politicians. There was complete ignorance regarding Russia.  I asked John what they thought of the war in Russia and the first reply was “Is it finished?” Asked who they thought would win the war, the census of opinion appeared to me that, although they had no idea of what was happening, they thought the Russians might defeat Germany. Before they left that particular town, the Germans said they were only returning temporarily and would be back in 1944.

Desmond Woods and Marmorstein are here with the LIR. I had a long talk with Desmond, who is very pleased to be out here. He is 2 i/c of a company. I am hoping to contact Marmy shortly, and I left a message for him. The CO told me that Norman Dicks is now in command of an RAF regiment battalion and “Bunny” Hill is in the same battalion.

Get Sally and Myrtle to write and tell me all the news and tell them to send airmails. The others are no use: they take much too long. One of these days your North Africa letters will arrive and I expect Pat Vaile and Ted Foster have written there. If I knew then what I know now, I would never have given that address.

The weather seems to be warming up again and it if very hot today. I am keeping very well and am quite cheerful but wish I did not have so many bites. It is simply ghastly the way we are bitten out here. A lot of people suffer from very bad sores. I believe Tony Pierce had a very bad time with them before he was wounded.

Keep your spirits up, dearest girl. It will be a grand day when we are together again.

All my love and kisses


Read letter dated 22 October 1943

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